Do you find yourself sitting more in your day than standing and walking? When you do get up and move around, are you stiff? Do you transition from sitting at your desk at work, to sitting in your car to get home, then sit and eat dinner? Or, you may be retired from work and you get up in the morning to find yourself sitting all day watching TV, playing cards and eating your meals.

If you find yourself sitting too much and you want to get moving, try incorporating some basic range of motion movements into your day. You don't even have to get up out of the chair to do this. It takes only a few minutes and it will get your blood flowing and your muscles, ligaments and tendons more flexible so when you do get up, you're not so stiff.

I've listed some basic range of motion exercises that I teach to my seated strength group classes. Although, I do have to warn you that when you do these exercises at your office desk or sitting in a meeting or while playing card games with your friends, they may give you a funny look. If they do, just invite them to move with you. They need the movement also.

Let's start with our hands, work up to the shoulders and neck then down the body to the ankles. I'm not going to give you a repetition number to follow because everyone is different and some people may like a certain movement more than others. If there's pain with a movement, then stop that movement and go to another movement. I don't believe in "no pain, no gain" by the way. I want you to be well. So here we go:

  • Sit up straight and tall with a good posture
  • Roll your thumb joints
  • Touch your thumb to each finger on the same hand (thumb to pointer, middle, ring, and pinky)
  • Roll your wrist joints
  • Bend and extend your elbows
  • Roll your shoulders backwards and forwards
  • Raise and lower your shoulders
  • Turn your head side to side, move your right ear toward your right shoulder and left ear toward your left shoulder, look up and look down
  • Trunk twist to the left and to the right
  • Lean your trunk to the left and to the right
  • Tighten up both buttock muscles and relax
  • Raise your right knee up then raise your left knee up
  • Straighten out your right leg then your left leg
  • Open and close your legs with your knees bent and feet on the floor
  • Raise your right foot off the floor and roll your right ankle joint then do the same for your left ankle joint

Now, don't you feel better? Enjoy your ability to move, even if you have to be seated. Here's to your good health.

About the author: Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford.. Email your thoughts to

exercise while seated